Print issue SPEX No. 375 focuses upon anger and resistance in pop culture. For this reason SPEX invited artists from all over the globe to answer the question: Is Anger An Energy? Read the full-length interviews online only. First: Algiers from Atlanta, Georgia.
What does anger mean to you? And how important is resistance for you?
Franklin James Fisher: Anger is a valid emotion just like any other and it can be very constructive if channeled in the right way. Resistance is important whenever basic human rights and liberties are under attack, which is basically all the time.
How and against what are you protesting?
Franklin James Fisher:The ongoing history of oppression and the people in power who try to control other people’s lives.
Taking a look at the current state of the world, does your urge to take a stand, to speak out, to act get stronger?
Matt Tong: I think it’s missing the point to look at Brexit, Trump, populism, the Russian cyber warfare project etc and think that all of a sudden things have gotten bad. Particularly in the US, it feels like a lot of the so-called „liberal elite“ got their noses bent out of joint by the election, acting all shocked and thinking „we’ve got to DO something!“. We’ve always had to do something and that is a fixed position for us, it doesn’t get stronger or weaker based on what the news cycle is telling us. If we’re talking about Trump, there is obviously more to talk about because he constantly gives us so much to talk about, but Trump is a symptom, not the cause.
„What is a protest? Is it fair to call a march a symbolic protest?“
Is there room for more than symbolic protest within the realm pop culture? How can pop culture bring about change, even beyond the already converted?
Matt Tong: I’m not sure what symbolic protest means. What is a protest? Is it fair to call a march a symbolic protest? I think that to say anything relating to action is symbolic is kind of a cop out. For me it smacks of a faux indifference and is, in a way, of one of the first steps on the ladder to nihilism. It means we avoid having to reckon with our not living to see fruits of our labour. I’ve personally grown weary of having to see things in terms of a neatly packaged narrative arc and pop culture really tries to force to digest stories and narratives as easily digestible morsels and I think that’s why politics and music are sort of anathema to many people. It’s like, „you’re never going to change the world with a song so why bother?“ and that utterly misses the point. Registering one’s dissent in a space where that is not necessarily expected or wanted is very important. I’m kind of sick of feeling like that there are certain places where it’s not appropriate to broach certain subjects. As far as bringing about change, if I’m speaking explicitly about our role as musicians, then I think one of our primary objectives is showing that there are numerous ways to conduct ourselves from within the culture industry, that we can be more than a form of escape, that we are human beings with strong ideas that exist beyond the album/promotion cycle, that when time and resources permit, we are active participants in an ongoing political discourse, not just the prescribers of our ideas.
What is the most urgent cause of your art?
Franklin James Fisher: Finding peace and hope in the existential crisis that is the absurdity of the human condition.
Alle Kurzinterviews mit Künstlerinnen und Künstlern aus aller Welt zum Thema Wut & Widerstand, die im Rahmen des Schwerpunkts in der Printausgabe SPEX No. 375 in gekürzter Form zu lesen sind, werden nach und nach online veröffentlicht. Das Heft kann im Onlineshop versandkostenfrei bestellt werden.